A new charter has been launched which will ensure that children, young people and families in Wolverhampton are able to help shape better services and support.

The City of Wolverhampton Children and Families Together Board’s new Co-Production Charter is a set of values and ways of working that organisations across the city have signed up to which will ensure they work with children, young people and families as equal partners. 

The charter has been developed with the involvement of parents and carers, the City of Wolverhampton Council, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, the B-Safe Team, Voice4Parents, Wolverhampton Information Advice and Support Service, Wolverhampton Challenge Board, the Children in Care Council and the City of Wolverhampton Youth Council.

It was launched last week at an event to officially unveil Wolverhampton's new co-produced Youth Engagement Strategy, #YES, which is designed to help Wolverhampton's children and young people reach their full potential.

Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "In Wolverhampton there are already fantastic examples of the positive power of co-production. Our new Youth Engagement Strategy, #YES, the strong partnership between the council and health services, and the family centred services provided at places like the GEM Centre are just a few. 

"With the launch of our Co-Production Charter we are now saying that this approach should be the norm, with everyone working together as equal partners.

"It will take time for us all to always live up to the principles we aspire to. But the charter will enable us to work better together to deliver improved services and outcomes for our city's families and young people."

Sarah Baker, Co Chair of Voice4Parents, which represents the views of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, said: "It was great to hear such strong and positive messages about co-production and how important it is that families are central to discussions and decisions about their own individual support and in shaping and developing services for the wider community. 

"Part of Voice4Parents' role will be to ensure partners who have signed up to the charter are demonstrating how they are fulfilling this promise and the difference it is making to people’s lives."

A further event is planned to give families the opportunity to find out more about the importance of working together through co-production, while a range of support will be put in place to support families, young people and professionals to work together more co-productively, including toolkits and how to guides, training and help from co-production champions. 

Anyone who is interested in becoming involved in developing and shaping services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities should please contact Voice4Parents via admin@voice4parents.co.uk or Alison Baggs, the council's Co-production Officer, via alison.baggs2@wolverhampton.gov.uk for further information.

Voice4Parents is holding a recruitment event for parents and carers of children with additional needs who want to find out more about the group's work and ways they can get involved. It takes place at the Tractor Shed, Bantock House and Museum, on Friday 6 March from 9.30am to 12pm.